Month: January 2011

Training log: First run after remediation

Posted on

Hugo Siegwart - Athlete
Working on the tan since beginning the new year...

Headed out for a slow 5 km jog this morning after about six weeks of remediation from injury caused by overtraining. The jog went well- no twinges or pain at all which was a good sign. So far, so good.

Started the session with a series of dynamic stretches for running.

Lesson learnt: more stretching, more emphasis on cool down, work up gradually and don’t overload training.

Looking good for 1 March start date.

A second life

Posted on

Philip Rosedale
Philip Rosedale

Philip Rosedale created a virtual world called Second Life beginning in 1998. “I’m not building a game. I’m building a new continent” is what he says describing the initiative which seeks to create a virtual economy inside a virtual society.

At any moment 80,000 users are on Second Life. Everyday an average of US$1.3 million dollars. Pretty amazing and awesome development. Check out the video below (it goes for 28 minutes).

So is this a world without problems and poverty? I have logged into Second Life a few years ago and haven’t visited recently, and when I was there I have never actually looked for extreme poverty. You can ‘get pregnant’ and ‘have a baby’ in Second Life, although I can only imagine there was no code built in for the tragedy of child mortality in Second Life. Need there be any inclusion of tragedy? A recreated and perfect world.

Is Second Life pure escapism from our real world? Simply an exercise in consumption? How do we make sense of this when extreme poverty is so pronounced in the real world? I am not proposing a neo-Luddite intervention to wreck or change Second Life, and I agree to a point with Rosedale that the “conceit” of exploration as he describes it has real benefits.

Creating a world where anything is possible…. The only catch is we just can’t solve this one out first. 24,000 children dying daily, most from preventable illness is an inconvenient reality of this life, our real life.

A shameless exercise of utopian self-indulgence? Opening our minds to new possibilities for currently unseen benefit? What do you think?

Life Bridge

Posted on

sydney habour bridge & opera house fireworks n...

During the Christmas break I spent time with my father in country Victoria. Between spending time eating, watching the cricket, and a visit to the local brewery, he asked me: “Do you think you could improve the name for the 10 City Bridge Run?

I thought it was a fair question, and it led into a great conversation. Some good ideas emerged, but nothing conclusive. Returning to Sydney, I was speaking with my good friend Eli who listened to the ideas my father and I had come up with. She said: “what about calling it Life Bridge”.

She borrowed imagery from a metaphor of a ‘life buoy’. Rather than throwing a life buoy to those in need, in this initiative everyone involved is helping to build a ‘life bridge’ to reduce the appalling prevalence of child mortality.

Every human bridge is in fact a ‘life bridge’, and all of these human bridges will contribute to a larger ‘Life Bridge’ presented to the G20 Summit. The ‘life bridge’ that matters is the reduction of child mortality to the many of people affected globally.

This entire project is complex and large. In fact, far bigger than I initially comprehended. The 10 City Bridge Run where I will run 10 sub-marathons each of 24 km in 10 cities across 10 countries all inside of one month commencing on 1 March 2011 is part of this broader ‘Life Bridge’.

I believe that building a ‘life bridge’ to help reduce child mortality is something few people would argue against. Whether they will make the effort to do it themselves through taking a photograph of their own human bridge/life bridge is a different matter.

Collaborating in small ways which might make a difference is important and costs nothing apart from a couple of minutes in time. I believe it is important for many people to show how they care for other people in need, even if that is simply a symbolic act. Would this symbolic act still be seen as meaningless if it were able to result in a petition that influenced a decision at the Paris G20 Summit to help address child mortality?

So what do you think of the name and imagery? Life Bridge.

A year full of new beginnings. For me, this year quite possibly will start with a ‘rebranding’ of the 10 City Bridge Run. The broader initiative will be called ‘Life Bridge’ and the ’10 City Bridge Run’ will be a featured symbolic act in this project both to draw attention and communicate the idea metaphorically. There is not change to what is going to take place, but the name change I think helps to explain it a little bit better.

Admittedly, my strength is not in the spinning and communication of ideas. I need your help. It is 1 January 2011, and most people are probably doing something more sensible than reading this blog. If you are reading this now (새해 많이 받으세요!!! Happy New Year!), please send me your feedback!

It was not I, it was the weapon

Posted on

Picture of the Confusian philosopher Mencius.
The Confusian philosopher Mencius (c. 300 BC)

There is nothing new about the idea that we have a strong moral obligation to help those in need.

Peter Singer in his book ‘The Life You Can Save‘ describes an account between Mencius and ‘King Hui of Liang’ who lived around 300 BC. Singer claims Mencius as second only to Confucius in influencing Chinese thought and regarded as the most authoritative interpreter of the Confusian tradition. On arriving in the king’s court, he made this statement about moral obligation to help the poor:

There are people dying from famine on the roads, and you do not issue the stores of your granaries for them. When people die, you say: “Is it not owing to me; it is owing to the year.” In what does this differ from stabbing a man and killing him, and then saying: “It was not I, it was the weapon?

Singer writes: “In one-on-one situations where rescue is easy, our intuitions tell us that it would be wrong not to do it. We all see or read appeals to help those living in extreme poverty in the world’s poorest countries. And yet most of us reject the call to ‘do unto others’.

2011: a year of new beginnings? If you are reading this, you probably already go that extra mile. How do we bring others on the journey so together we can make a bigger and lasting difference?